There’s a movement right now where people are publicly shaming advertisers on Breitbart.com, the alt-right website. People are being urged to Tweet to businesses telling them to take down their advertising, unless they want to be associated with the website that once used the headline: “Gabby Giffords: The Gun Control Movement’s Human Shield.”
Here’s the problem: a lot of companies don’t know they are advertising there.
They advertise through Adwords, a Google platform. Like anything Google does, it is focused on the big reach. They want to find as many possible customers for your business as possible. So, they place ads everywhere. You want to advertise your national shoe company? It might wind up on Breitbart. You want to advertise your local lawn maintenance company? It might also wind up on Breitbart.
Adwords lets advertisers choose what websites they don’t want to appear on. However, it is a lot to ask of companies to scour the web and write down every site they disagree with.
Chances are, they just don’t realize their ads are there. So, don’t publicly shame them for something they had no idea about.
I went over to Breitbart when I heard about this public shaming movement. I wanted to see who was advertising there. So, to my surprise, there was a company I do a fair amount of business with. Its founder is of Middle Eastern descent, so I was a bit shocked to see that.
Instead of adding to the Twitstorm, I went to this company’s website and used “Contact Us” to send a quick e-mail letting them know where their ads were, and that it was probably an Adwords issue. I also warned them of the ill-informed backlash that some other companies are getting because of this. They responded in person within hours letting me know they wanted nothing to do with Breitbart and would inform their advertising director right away to fix this.
I understand the desire to fight inflammatory words with other inflammatory words, but in this case, you’d be hurting innocent advertisers in the crossfire. And besides, as the Red Dragon in Bone said, “Never play an ace if a 2 will do.”